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Camping
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Activities

Established Camping

Big Lake

Warning 1 Alert is In Effect

There is 1 alert for this campground. Camp safely!

This facility is now managed by Linn County Parks and Recreation.

About

USDA Forest Service

Willamette National Forest

Overview

This campground provides 49 single campsites.__ There are both reservable and FCFS sites.__ The original campsites within Big Lake are in two loops, (sites #1-14 and #15-20) which have eight or so sites with frontage on the lake shore.__ In 1992 additional campsites were opened (sites #21-49) on a long straight stretch from the boat launch towards Big Lake West.__ These sites have larger and wider parking spurs, and most sites use stairs to access the table, fire rings and tent pad below the parking spur.__ Sites can accommodate trailers up to 35 feet in length, depending on site.__ Drinking water is provided by a water system, built in 1993, which serves the entire Big Lake complex by filtering water drawn from the lake and distributing it to the campgrounds.__ There are three single vault toilets, and two double vault toilets in the campground.__ The extra vehicle parking area consists of a boat launch, picnic area, and parking for approximately 15 vehicles and boat trailers.__ All of these day use facilities are located in the middle of the campground, between the original loops and the "expansion" campsites.______ Scan and Pay is offered at this campground; you may also pay by cash or check for FCFS campsites. There are no refunds, modifications, cancellations, or other fee changes allowed with Scan and Pay payments. This system is the same as putting cash into a fee tube and cannot be refunded. Please download the Rec.Gov app prior to arriving at the campground as there may be no cellular service or very limited service at the campground.____ Reservations may be made up to 6 months in advance of arrival date by reserving online at RECREATION.GOV or by calling 877-444-6777.

Recreation

Water skiing, sailing and swimming are among the favorite activities at the lake. The Patjens Lakes Trail offers excellent hiking opportunities. The trail follows the western side of Big Lake, heads south into the Mt. Washington Wilderness, passes alongside the scenic Patjens Lakes, and then loops back to the campground.

Facilities

Water skiing, sailing and swimming are among the favorite activities at the lake. The Patjens Lakes Trail offers excellent hiking opportunities. The trail follows the western side of Big Lake, heads south into the Mt. Washington Wilderness, passes alongside the scenic Patjens Lakes, and then loops back to the campground.

Natural Features

contact_info

For facility specific information, please call (541) 967-3917.

Nearby Attractions

The major activities in the Big Lake area revolve around motorized use.__ Boats frequent the lake and off highway vehicles (OHVs) us the adjacent Santiam Pass Motorized Recreation Area.__ Other attractions include Mt. Washington Wilderness and associated access trails, historic Santiam__Wagon Road, McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass National Scenic Byway, Pacific Crest Trail, and Sand Mountain Lookout. Water skiing, sailing and swimming are among the favorite activities at the lake. The Patjens Lakes Trail offers excellent hiking opportunities. The trail follows the western side of Big Lake, heads south into the Mt. Washington Wilderness, passes alongside the scenic Patjens Lakes, and then loops back to the campground.

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Location

Big Lake is located in Oregon

Detail location of campground

Directions

From Eugene, Oregon, take I-105 east to McKenzie Highway 126. Travel east on 126 for 90 miles to Santiam Pass. At the top of the Pass, turn right onto the access road (sign says Hoodoo Ski Area, Big Lake Road, & Benson Sno-Park). Travel one mile to the fork in the road and stay left on Forest Service Road 2690. Continue for 2 miles to the entrance to Big Lake Campground on the left.

Coordinates

44.3775 N
121.8708333 W

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Access

  • Drive-In
    Park next to your site
  • Walk-In
    Park in a lot, walk to your site.
  • Hike-In
    Backcountry sites.
  • Boat-In
    Sites accessible by watercraft.

Stay Connected

  • WiFi
    Available
  • Verizon
    Good
  • AT&T
    Good
  • T-Mobile
    Good

Site Types

  • Tent Sites
  • RV Sites
  • Standard (Tent/RV)
  • Group
  • Equestrian

Features

For Campers

  • Trash
  • Phone Service
  • Drinking Water
  • Toilets
  • Alcohol
  • Pets

For Vehicles

  • Sanitary Dump
  • Pull-Through Sites
  • Big Rig Friendly

Reviews

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4.5

out of 5

15 Reviews

Kennedy00
Reviewed Jul. 15, 2024

Bring bug spray!

The lake is beautiful, although unfortunately not too shaded during the day due to the wild fires. I only spent a night here and it did the job. Bring bug spray, the bugs are outrageous. This is also not a quite campground. Neighbors are close and you can hear the people on the lake, but that’s to be expected.

Site42
Month of VisitAugust
Caitlyn P.
Reviewed Jul. 8, 2022

Camping bliss

The lake is calm, the campsites line the lake full of evergreens. Truly peaceful.

Site36
Month of VisitAugust
  • Review photo of Big Lake by Caitlyn P., July 8, 2022
  • Review photo of Big Lake by Caitlyn P., July 8, 2022
K
Reviewed Sep. 25, 2021

Beautiful Location- Limited Privacy

We stayed in Big Lake West last weekend. The site was huge extending all the way down to the lake but we discovered that all of the west sites are walk-in only so we parked our van on the side of the road in front of our campsite in the designated area. The vault toilets were relatively clean and there were ample water spigots and garbage cans.

The downside is that we had a constant stream of hikers, hunters, other campers, and their dogs wandering through our campsite all day on both of the days we had reserved the site. It seems that most people elect to forgo the day-use access to the lake and use the campsites instead.

We also had substantial fast-moving traffic (hunters, hikers and OHVs) who appeared to be exploring the area.

And lastly- the trash in our site was substantial. The sites are large and not heavily maintained, but it’s disappointing to see piles of cigarette butts, cans, plastic bottles, a camp rug, along with the normal micro-trash lying around.

If you are easy going and like to make new friends with the endless stream of people wandering through your site- this is a great location. If you are trying to disconnect and have a little space to call your own for the weekend, I would avoid or stick to the regular big lake sites.

Site008
Month of VisitOctober
J
Reviewed Jul. 27, 2021

Beautiful spot

Campsite marker said full but we drove in anyways and wete able to find one lucky open spot! Got a beautiful view of the lake and easy water refill/trash stop!

Month of VisitAugust
  • Review photo of Big Lake by Jay , July 27, 2021
Paula G.
Reviewed Jul. 11, 2021

Beautiful spot!

Great spot for some camping and time on the lake! Busy place, and motor boats allowed, so not particularly quiet.

Site19
Month of VisitAugust
  • Review photo of Big Lake by Paula G., July 11, 2021
  • Review photo of Big Lake by Paula G., July 11, 2021
  • Review photo of Big Lake by Paula G., July 11, 2021
  • (4) View All
C
Reviewed Mar. 2, 2021

Great campground, awesome views, burn zone though

Big Lake Campground is a great place to visit in all seasons, although you would need snowshoes, skis, or a snowmobile to get there in the Winter.  The views of Mt. Washington over the lake are truly stunning.  My only knocks on it is that mosquitoes can be vicious in the summer, and most of the forest in view is burnt.

  • Review photo of Big Lake by Christian , March 2, 2021
  • Review photo of Big Lake by Christian , March 2, 2021
  • Review photo of Big Lake by Christian , March 2, 2021
  • (4) View All
Johnny G.
Reviewed Aug. 8, 2020

Stunning Views!

Gorgeous views and hiking trails galore! I don’t think I’ve camped at a place that is as beautiful scenery as Big Lake Campground. Campground has all the necessities: there are vault toilets, fire pits, tables, and drinking water. No cell service of course and lake is very close.

Lots of space and highly recommend!

  • Review photo of Big Lake by Johnny G., August 8, 2020
  • Review photo of Big Lake by Johnny G., August 8, 2020
Kristi R.
Reviewed Jul. 8, 2019

Lovely spot, shared with many sports

This was a great little lakeside campground with easy water access, and bathrooms (pit toilets) onsite.

It is really dusty, which was expected.

We also found it to be pretty loud as people played their loud music on boats late into the evening and the music carried over the water.

The view of Washington, however, cannot be beat.

  • Review photo of Big Lake by Kristi R., July 8, 2019
  • Review photo of Big Lake by Kristi R., July 8, 2019
  • Review photo of Big Lake by Kristi R., July 8, 2019
  • (5) View All
Rayne C.
Reviewed Oct. 8, 2018

Stunning!

Absolutely beautiful view, huge sites and fairly remote.

  • Review photo of Big Lake by Rayne C., October 8, 2018
  • Review photo of Big Lake by Rayne C., October 8, 2018
  • Review photo of Big Lake by Rayne C., October 8, 2018
  • (5) View All
Rhyss Anne P.
Reviewed Aug. 27, 2018

BEST CAMPGROUND IN OREGON

Great camping spot with awesome mountain views. Area also has private campsites for tent so you’re not out in the open. Very accessible to hikes (Sahalie, Koosah, Tamolitch Blue Pool, and many lakes).

  • Review photo of Big Lake by Rhyss Anne P., August 27, 2018
  • Review photo of Big Lake by Rhyss Anne P., August 27, 2018
  • Review photo of Big Lake by Rhyss Anne P., August 27, 2018
  • (7) View All
Austin G.
Reviewed Jul. 17, 2018

Very relaxing and beautiful lake to enjoy the outdoors

This hidden gem can’t be seen from the highway. But it’s a quick drive down a improved road to it,s clear refreshing waters with fishing and plenty places to swim. Trails to go off road and places to camp near or away from the water. You’ll find views of snowcapped mountains and relax at night with no city noise or lights glowing. Check this place out before the winter hits and the snow piles up.

Month of VisitAugust
  • A small alpine snow melt lake, leading to a view above to big lake.
    Play button icon
  • Review photo of Big Lake by Austin G., July 17, 2018
M
Reviewed Jun. 19, 2018

great views

We headed out from Portland late Friday, not really knowing what to expect. The campground was clean and easy to find, obviously a hit for OHV. We went on a hike just a few yards from the campsite, and put our kayaks in the lake after. Not to loud, and great views

  • Review photo of Big Lake by Mackenzie C., June 19, 2018
Becky K.
Reviewed Jul. 13, 2017

Great kayaking lake!

Have camped here a few different times, Always a great time. Lake is great for kayaking, big enough to give you lots to paddle, but small enough to not be overwhelming. Beautiful view of the mountain (Mt. Washington I believe), and lots of birds and deer in the area. A bit dusty, and no re hookups, but the lake and views make up for that. Pit toilets, and not all sites are leveled for every parking. Check site length to your needs and being leveling blocks in case!

Site18, 20
Month of VisitJuly
Carole B.
Reviewed Sep. 26, 2016

Great For Dirt Biking

This is pretty well a dry camp area but great if you have bikes or dirt bikes or four wheelers. The lake is not breathtaking but pretty enough.

Kris O.
Reviewed Sep. 22, 2016

Great View

There's such a great view of Mt Washington from the campground.

  • Review photo of Big Lake by Kris O., September 22, 2016

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the max vehicle length at Big Lake?

Big Lake allows vehicles up to 65 feet.

Does Big Lake have wifi?

No, according to campers on TheDyrt.com, Big Lake does not have wifi.

Is there cell phone reception at Big Lake?

According to campers on TheDyrt.com, Verizon signal is good, AT&T is good, and T-Mobile is good.

How hard is it to get a campsite at Big Lake?

Some campers book as far as 6 months in advance, so on high-demand weekends it can be very difficult to get a campsite at Big Lake. If you want to get a last-minute campsite at Big Lake, try setting up a text message Alert at TheDyrt.com/alerts

Why is it so hard to get a campsite at Big Lake?

There are 45 campsites at Big Lake and over 80 million Americans who camp! Try snagging a cancellation by setting up a text message Alert at TheDyrt.com/alerts